Barbara De Pirro: Crochet Art From Reclaimed Materials

Lately, I’ve been learning more about the work of artist Barbara De Pirro. She is a mixed media artist who uses synthetic materials, such as reclaimed plastic, to create sculptures that mimic structures in nature. 

She uses a variety of techniques, including crochet, to create her artwork. I love the juxtaposition of something that damages the earth (plastic) with beautiful designs that imitate the structures of nature. It feels really powerful.

About Crochet Artist Barbara De Pirro

In one of her blog profiles, De Pirro offers the following insight into what inspires her: 

“I am fascinated by the brilliance and resilience of nature while at the same time its fragility & vulnerability. I surround myself with its many forms, surfaces, and textures. Nature is as much a part of my life as it is the impetus for all my artwork.”

The artist has lived most of her life in urban settings but is now living in a rural part of Washington State. This is the perfect location for her, with her self-described obsession with nature. 

Her art began as an environmental statement. She uses reclaimed materials, such as plastics, and transforms them into organic sculptures and installations. The juxtaposition between man-made materials and natural forms is intentional. 

In addition to crochet, she uses threading, sewing, stitching, weaving, and other fiber techniques in her work with unconventional materials.

Flora Plastica Crochet Art

De Pirro’s Flora Plastica display is an impressive example of how she uses reclaimed materials and crochet techniques to create art.

This display features flowers crocheted from recycled plastic bags.

The crocheted flowers hang from a steel wire support, creating a beautiful flower arrangement from previously discarded material. 

Roots and Vines Crochet Art

This series is my favorite of Barbara De Pirro’s plarn (plastic yarn) installations. This sculpture is made up of plastic yarn crocheted into vines, which have been displayed indoors and also outdoors, on the trunk of a tree. 

This installation was inspired by invasive ivy that grows on trees in the Pacific Northwest. The similarly invasive plastic waste was used to mimic this ivy. 

You can see this powerful installation in the video below. 

Fungo Crochet Art

This striking piece of artwork is also juxtaposed with the trunk of a real tree. Instead of a vine, this artwork imitates a fungus with many small balls that are crocheted from recycled plastic yarn. 

Other Crochet Sculptures

In addition to her installations, Barbara De Pirro has several other pieces of crochet art. She works with a wide variety of materials and uses them in creative ways. Here are just a few examples:

In the photo below from De Pirro’s Instagram, you can see material that she has created by crocheting recycled paper. I can only imagine the delicacy required to do this without tearing the paper!

This example, also from the artist’s Instagram, shows a piece made of aluminum can tabs crocheted together with wire. 

I highly recommend perusing this artist’s Instagram page. You can see many more examples of her work, along with many gorgeous nature photos. It’s clear in these photos how much she takes her inspiration from the natural world. 

Barbara De Pirro’s Non-Crochet Work

While this blog is dedicated to crochet, I have to mention De Pirro’s other work as well. She makes use of so many techniques and a variety of reclaimed and recycled items. 

The video below shows her installation Flourish, which was made from thousands of plastic bottle caps and plastic bottles. It’s beautiful while also making a statement about the staggering amount of waste that is produced from single-use plastic bottles. 

Other Similar Crochet Artists

If you enjoy Barbara De Pirro’s work, you may be looking for similar artists to explore further.

Some of the artists that I’m reminded of when I look at Barbara De Pirro’s work include crochet artist Jerry Bleem, plarn crochet artist Julie Kornblum, crochet artist Mandy Greer, and Helle Jorgensen AKA Gooseflesh.

Kelsey Mlnarik

Kelsey has been a crafter since childhood and enjoys crochet, sewing, and any craft she can make with her children. She loves learning new techniques and sharing what she learns along the way. Kelsey someday hopes to be someone's crafty grandmother, crocheting afghans and drinking entire pots of coffee.

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